Modeler George Sebastian-Coleman discusses the varieties and uses of various cutting tools in the hobby. Cutting tools come in three basic varieties – knives, saws, and files. A hobby knife is common in modeling and useful for making small cuts on wood and styrene. It’s important to have a board underneath the cutting surface so the blade is not dulled. A self healing mat is suggested as well as flexible cutting boards that are used for kitchens.
A guide is also required whether with a square or straight edge to create precise cuts. Choppers use blades to cut through thicker material more quickly and easily than standard knives. For even thicker material a saw is best used. It must not be forgotten that scissors – which are essentially two blades working together – can be great for making cuts on materials like thin metal.
When using saws, a guide should be used to achieve a precise cut. Miter boxes are suggested as a great guide for sawing. Hacksaws are good for hobby work because they are fine toothed. Back saws and hobby razor saws are also used. A miter box has a lip to fit on the edge of the table and comes with 90 degree and 45 degree notches. A hobby band saw is used for stronger materials like plaster.
Files come in different sizes, shapes, and patterns. A mill file is used most commonly and has uniform grooves. When used with plaster or other materials, debree can get loaded up on the file. A wire brush is used to clean this off. For working with harder materials like brass, a clamp can be used such as a bench vice, a pair of pliers, or vice grips. Another file type is a motor tool attached to an abrasive disk. 90 degree motor tools make a much more square cut. Needle files are good for filing small objects.
The video goes on to highlight table saws and techniques for using them. For more model railroad tips, view the Model Railroad Academy website.